State offers winter preparedness tips

Newport Snow Storm

Midtown Oyster Bar

Although winter doesn’t officially begin until December 21st, the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) is advising Rhode Islanders to prepare now, especially with a dusting coming our way.

“Winter is just around the corner, and as every Rhode Islander knows all-too-well, that means severe weather and heavy snow are on the horizon,” says Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo. “It’s never too early to start preparing. From gathering supplies to insulating our homes, there are steps Rhode Islanders can take now to ensure our families stay safe and warm during this unpredictable season. Practical planning supports effective preparedness. And always remember to check in on your friends and neighbors to make sure they’re properly prepared.”

RIEMA suggests the following preparedness tips to Rhode Islanders:

• Make an emergency supply kit for your home and vehicle.

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• Practice your family emergency communications plan.

• Check on elderly family, friends and neighbors to make sure they are properly prepared.

• Make sure you can heat at least one room in your home if your power or furnace is out.

• Before using your fireplace, have your chimney inspected by a certified inspector.

• Make sure your home is properly insulated. Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows to keep the cold out.

• Insulate pipes to keep them from freezing.

• Know how to shut off your water.

• Make sure your car tires have some tread on them and consider installing winter tires.

• Be aware of parking bans in your community.

• Talk with your employer about winter weather policies and procedures.

“Rhode Island often experiences snow and winter weather in late November and early December,” says RIEMA Director Marc Pappas. “Even though NOAA forecasters are predicting above average temperatures for Rhode Island in their U.S. Winter Outlooks this year, snow storms are still very likely to happen. We encourage families and businesses to prepare now, before a storm strikes.”

As winter approaches, Colonel James Manni, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police, is reminding all motorists of some driving safety tips and reminders. Following these basic tips and reminders can assist in ensuring the safety of motorists during snow storms. The Rhode Island State Police is committed to working collaboratively with the Governor’s office, RIDOT, and EMA to provide the highest level of public safety during weather related events.

• Remove all snow from your vehicle before driving. Failure to do so creates a hazard for you and others. It’s also a violation of state law, carrying an $85 fine.

• Wear your seatbelt. It’s your best protection, in the event of a crash.

• Turn on your headlights. (State law requires that if your windshield wipers are on, your headlights must be on, too.)

• Slow down and allow extra distance between your vehicle and others. Even four-wheel and all-wheel drive vehicles lose traction on snow- and ice-covered roads.

• If your vehicle goes off the road or is involved in a crash, call 911 and stay with your vehicle – if it is safe to do so – until help arrive

“The safety of the traveling public is our highest priority at RIDOT, and we work throughout the year to improve our winter storm response,” Rhode Island Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti, Jr. said. “We ask motorists to do their part by reducing speed, not passing or crowding plows and avoiding distraction.”

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